Seems people are really enjoying these "stop and think" polls and journals I've been making as of late. So, I'll attempt to keep them coming!
As always, please do post your thoughts on the matter, even if they're against the majority, or even controversial! Also, please discuss the matter with one another as opposed to just expecting replies from me. I can't get around to every message (especially as many would just be a reply of "I agree"), so chatting about it amongst yourselves should inspire some interesting debates and alternative points of view!
Of course, for those with views that differ from your own, please respect that we all have our own opinions and outlooks. No personal attacks.
RIGHT, that's that out the way....
-------"I feel embarrassed that people from this country [UK] have to go, cap in hand, to die in Switzerland,"-------
To get the matter out of the way, I should point out that I am pro-choice on this matter, and agree that, with the right rules and criteria in place, assisted suicide should be legalised. As such, my views are going to be strongly in favour of that!
So! First and foremost, what is assisted suicide, and what would legalisation of it entail? I think some people have a warped, incorrect, or unrealistic view of just what assisted suicide is, so I'll share with you the UK's proposed scheme surrounding it.
...The criteria, however, are stringent, and not all those with serious or even terminal illnesses would be permitted to ask their doctor to prescribe them lethal medication. Only those who were over 18 and had been diagnosed as having fewer than 12 months to live would be eligible, and then only if they could show that they were making the decision voluntarily, without coming under any pressure from family members, and had "no sense of being a burden".
Two independent doctors would have to agree with the diagnosis, and also agree the person was aware of all the social and medical help available to them, and was not influenced by depression or a treatable mental illness. - The Guardian, 5th Jan 2012
Bear in mind that this is only the UK proposal for the topic of assisted suicide. This may not be the same in other countries, whether they're considering legalisation, or already allow it.
This isn't the perfect structure, in my opinion, but it's a start. As The Guardian points out, there are many people who would not be able to seek assisted suicide under these guidelines, were they to become law. Terry Prachett has always been a strong supporter of the right to die, but as his battle is with dementia, by the time he has only 12 suspected months to live left, he would not be of a sound enough mind to be able to make the decision. So, the proposed rules don't work for everyone. While they are a good start, with decent failsafes in place, they are not perfect yet.
A lot of people oppose the idea of assisted suicide. They believe that life should be protected, that killing ones self is wrong, or selfish, or damages those around them.
Perhaps these are valid reasons. If you agree with them, then it's certainly valid reasoning enough for YOU to never undergo assisted suicide.
But what about those who disagree with you? What about people whose understanding of life and death is entirely different to your own? What right, we must ask ourselves, do we as individuals have to push our personal preferences, morals, and ideals onto the life of another person?
With that in mind, I asked myself the difficult question of "Could I agree to assisted suicide, if my condition were severe enough?". It's a hard situation to consider, as I cannot entirely imagine what a life of constant pain or suffering would be like. Still, I tried to put myself into that situation, and my final thought on the matter was: No. I couldn't. I'm too afraid to die to consider assisted suicide.
So I had my own, personal preference, albeit an assumed one. From there, my self-questioning continued to "Do I believe others should have the choice to end their lives, if the condition was severe enough?" The answer came a lot easier, in this case. Yes, I would allow them the choice.
Not everyone is afraid of death. Indeed, it's an eventually we will all sadly have to meet some day. I wish I could have the mental stability and maturity to be more comfortable with that fact, I really do. For those who can accept it, and do not feel crippling fear or anguish at the thought of it, I applaud you, and I envy you.
For some people, life can cease to be living when their health deteriorates terribly. Indeed, are you really 'alive' if you're vegetated on a hospital bed with no hope of recovery? Can you really live when your mind is wasting away to the point you don't know who or what you are, who your family are, or how to take care of yourself in the most basic of ways? What is the point in living, some people ask, when you cannot do a thing for yourself, and every moment is a battle against agony? These are often the people who wish to have the option of assisted suicide. Life, for them, has essentially already ended. They merely wish to take the next, inevitable step a little earlier, instead of sit in limbo and wait.
Regardless of their reasons, if they are in a sound state of mind to make the decision of how they want their lives to end, then who are we as individuals to tell them what they can and cannot do, even if it directly conflicts with our own opinions or moral code?
I really could go on forever about this subject, but I really have to get back to work! I think I've said the bare bones of my view on the subject, either way!
So! Discuss. Debate. Agree or disagree. I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on the matter!
[link] - The Guardian's recent article on the matter
[link] - A Pros/Cons article for both sides of the argument.
[link] - ProCon.org 's research into euthanasia, including information on the topic, as well as more pros/cons.
Thanks to ~Ariyaunna for the avatars!
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